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Royal Caribbean's
Architectural Marvel
"Oasis of the Seas"

Central Park Brings the Outdoors Inside, Creating an 
Open-air Neighborhood for Guests That Reaches to the Sky

April 15, 2008: When photos appeared of steel rising into the air at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, a friend and I discussed how we perceived Royal Caribbean's largest-ship-in-history (so far), which is currently under construction. It appeared that it would have a Royal Promenade of sorts. I jokingly predicted it would have a sliding roof. I wasn't far off.

In its latest evolution in cruise ship design, Royal Caribbean International's Project Genesis (now officially to be named Oasis of the Seas) promises to bring the best of the land to sea with Central Park, a revolutionary design in which the center of the ship opens to the sky and features lush, tropical grounds spanning the length of a football field. An exquisite public gathering place featuring serene pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees, Central Park will provide cruisers with more choices in a unique outdoor space. One of the ship's most ground-breaking spaces, this new concept is the first of seven neighborhoods to be unveiled on Project Genesis. Each neighborhood will provide passengers with the opportunity to seek out personally relevant experiences in various locales based on their lifestyle, preference, or mood.

Central Park By Day

Elegant and lively, Central Park's central piazza will be the ship's "town square" which evolves from a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere during the day to a gathering space for alfresco dining and entertainment in the evening, where guests will enjoy concerts and street performances. The neighborhood is lined with balcony staterooms rising six decks high with views of the Park below and the sky above.

Central Park After Dark

Surrounding this social space will be an array of restaurants, with choices ranging from fine dining to casual chic. Guests will have the option of an elegant dinner at the new 150 Central Park or a picnic lunch from the more casual Central Park Cafe, where they can sit outdoors and people-watch. Other dining choices will include: Giovanni's Table, an Italian restaurant; Vintages wine bar; and Royal Caribbean's signature Chops Grille steakhouse. Several bars will be scattered throughout the Park, including the Canopy Bar, located at one of two impressive glass-domed canopies, and the unique Rising Tide bar, the first moving bar at sea.

Truly an engineering feat, Rising Tide (pictured below) will span three decks and allow passengers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend into Central Park and then descend back into the public spaces below. Central Park also will have stylish boutique shops, showcasing a selection of upscale merchandise.

Rising Tide reminds us of Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge on steroids. When Viking Crown Lounge was introduced on the original Royal Caribbean ships back in the 1970s, it was modeled after Seattle's Space Needle. All it needed was to rotate, ala Hyatt's top-of-the-hotel revolving lounges, to make it truly revolutionary (oops, bad pun). Seriously, I can't wait to sip a Martini and take a ride on Rising Tide. It sounds like a unique experience.

"Our brand identity is founded in innovation and on delivering the best cruise vacation through 'WOW' experiences," stated Adam Goldstein, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Central Park is a true evolution of cruise ship design and allows us to provide our guests with not only a more varied selection of balcony accommodations, but also a stunning public venue that will be a central element of the ship, both during the day and at night."

Central Park Fast Facts:

-- Central Park is located on Deck 8 of the ship, with dimensions of 62 feet (19 meters) wide and 328 feet (100 meters) long. The sophisticated neighborhood will include 334 staterooms overlooking the Park, 254 with balconies. Central Park will be landscaped with tropical foliage, including seasonal flowers, shrubs and trees. Drawing on the concept of unexpected surprises and intrigue, garden spaces throughout the Park will sprout from charming pathways. Drifts of Calla Lilies among Giant Elephant Ears, Red Ginger, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Zebra Calathea are some of the plant life guests will discover. Trees, some eventually reaching more than two-and-a-half decks tall, include Black Olive, Cuban Laurel, Cherry of the Rio Grande, and Painted and Golden Bamboo.

-- Surprises in Central Park include quiet reading corners; a Chess Garden with large-scale pieces; the Pergola Garden, an interpretive garden featuring vegetation from a host of Caribbean locales; and a Sculpture garden, highlighting work by international artists.

-- Irrigation and drainage systems will be incorporated, along with micro-climate control techniques.

-- An on-site horticulturist will provide educational classes for guests seeking to learn more about flora.

-- The Crystal Canopies, two impressive arched-glass domes, one with a bar, will be a focal point of Central Park and provide sunlight into the ship's inner public spaces.

Restaurants and dining options in the Central Park neighborhood include:

* 150 Central Park - The most exclusive dining venue on the ship (below), 150 Central Park combines leading-edge cuisine with leading-edge design. An observation window into the kitchen of this stylish restaurant will give Central Park passersby the opportunity to observe the executive chef in action. Open for dinner.

* Chops Grille - Continuing the tradition, Royal Caribbean's popular signature steakhouse (below) will offer premium cut, quality meats in an upscale, contemporary setting. Open for dinner.

* Giovanni's Table - Influenced by the Tuscan countryside, Giovanni's (below) will be a casual new Italian restaurant concept offering toasted herbal breads, pizzas, salads, pastas, Italian sandwiches, braised meat dishes and stews. Rustic with a contemporary flair, dishes are served family style in an indoor and outdoor setting to provide an alfresco experience in Central Park. Open for lunch and dinner.

* Central Park Cafe - A casual dining choice providing a high level of variety and flexibility, Central Park Cafe is an indoor/outdoor gourmet market with walk-up counters. From freshly prepared salads and made-to-order sandwiches to paninis,
crepes and hearty soups, guests order directly from the chefs behind the food stations. European pastries, sublime chocolates and decadent fudge round out the offerings. Open for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and late night treats.r>
* Vintages - Always a popular hot spot for Royal Caribbean guests on Voyager- and Freedom-class ships, the Vintages wine bar evolves into a larger space on Project Genesis, offering a variety of options for those seeking a tropical white Riesling or a mocha-inflected Merlot. Great for a pre-dinner rendezvous, Vintages also provides a selection of cheeses and a full tapas menu to accompany a robust selection of fine wines. Open for lunch and dinner.

Central Park will also feature upscale retail boutiques for discerning travelers, including specialty outlets such as The Parkside Gallery, showcasing original artwork for purchase, and Picture This, a portrait studio.

When she launches in late 2009, Project Genesis, recently named Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 GRT, carry 5,400 guests, and feature 2,700 staterooms. The ship will sail from her home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2010, she will be joined by a sister ship (also unnamed as yet). Additional information is available at

Project Genesis Fast Facts
  • Launching late 2009
  • 220,000 GRT
  • 7 Neighborhoods
  • 5,400 passengers
  • 2,700 staterooms
  • 16 decks high

In our second installment, get even more details and images

Images courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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